Technology investments during times of economic uncertainty can feel risky, but there’s far more to lose by hunkering down.

The upcoming year is poised to present a variety of challenges from a planning and investment perspective.  Market uncertainty isn’t new; we consistently cycle through economic ups and downs. It might feel a bit different this time around, however, given the range of economic, social, and political challenges. For many in leadership positions, this might be the first time you’re experiencing an operating background this challenging and uncertain.  

The risk mitigation portion of our brain often tells us to hunker down and avoid making any sudden moves when it looks like the bottom of the market could fall out. So, what’s a person to do? Let the market pass and wait until things look more stable to make investments? It sounds reasonable, but you might miss out on more than you save. If history has taught us anything, times of turmoil tend to create the strongest, most resilient companies. 

With that in mind, you can make smart technology investments that will position your business for immediate and longer-term success while being prudent and minimizing risk. Significant new transformational investments in ERP or other cloud platforms may not make sense at this time. However, getting the most out of your current technology investments, making it easier for your customers to work with you, and enabling agility across your organization will position you to win and allow you to do more with less.  

To make your company more resilient, efficient, and innovative, I recommend reviewing your approach in three critical business aspects – experience, data, and cloud. 

Success requires significant technology depth, a unique perspective, and domain expertise focused on solving critical business and technology issues. Perhaps more importantly, you need to do the “hard work” necessary to integrate disparate systems, platforms, and data sources, all while delivering a human-centered user experience to customers and employees.  

Building Momentum with User Experience Quick Wins     

Any step to reduce customer friction in engaging with you is a solid investment; the right user experience initiatives will simplify your customer’s experience with your company. Conveniently, there’s ample opportunity to tackle projects with a low degree of difficulty that will provide powerful results. 

Working towards continuous improvement on your website or portal is one of the most impactful initiatives you can undertake without a massive lift. Regardless of your industry, your customer-facing sites and portals can be better, faster, and easier to use. There are three quick win opportunities I recommend considering: 

  • Simplifying site navigation. Revisiting your navigation isn’t a heavy lift to implement, but it makes a massive difference in site accessibility and customer experience. 
  • Optimizing site taxonomy. Reviewing your site taxonomy to ensure the content you’re displaying reflects what’s on the page makes your site easier to use and influences your search engine rankings. 
  • Improving site search. You can reduce the time your user spends on the site or portal and improve their overall satisfaction with the experience by providing helpful and accurate results. 

Improving your digital experience leads to greater customer satisfaction and reduces costs for your organization. Truly a win-win scenario. 

If history has taught us anything, times of turmoil tend to create the strongest, most resilient companies.

Gaining Efficiency with Your Data Management Strategy    

There’s always more opportunity to understand your customer and improve your data quality. Typically, data is one of the primary limiting factors holding organizations back from reaching their full potential – mind you, that’s not a lack of data issue, but rather a data quality and integration issue. Most organizations are swimming in data, producing exponential amounts year over year. The challenge lies in connecting your data strategy, governance, and analytics to properly illuminate organizational strengths and weaknesses. 

Asking yourself three key questions will help address your data strategy and prepare a strong data foundation: 

  • Is your data an enabler for the business? Value-based delivery is a concept that will help you partner with stakeholders to generate a data strategy that enables the business and provides tangible value. 
  • Is data governance a central component of your strategy? It’s critical to engage the people who consume the data in managing that data – the proper data governance measures will ensure that’s the case. 
  • Does your strategy emphasize optimization capabilities? Leveraging your data for multiple purposes creates the opportunity for operational savings, consistent customer experiences, and more accurate reporting. 

Activating and optimizing your data management strategy will help your organization narrow its focus and double down on key strengths. 

Investing in Thoughtful Cloud Optimization  

No shock here – cloud initiatives provide unparalleled flexibility and cost optimization opportunities. Many large organizations modernized their legacy systems years ago in favor of the scalability of the cloud. However, just because your modernization is complete doesn’t mean the journey is over. Cloud optimization will help you find areas of opportunity in your current landscape to reduce operational costs and improve return on investment. 

I believe there are three guiding principles to help you go beyond just operating in the cloud and fully optimize your cloud investment: 

  • Focus on the customer. Start with a targeted project that provides a better experience for your customer to show success in the cloud and allow you to plan more extensive migrations. 
  • Enable your employees. Cloud modernization initiatives allow your employees to explore innovative technologies with a low cost of entry and go a long way to retain people who value innovation. 
  • Emphasize governance. Key to maximizing your strategy, governance leads to the best long-term success with the fewest problems down the line. 

The key is to start now. Waiting for economic uncertainty to pass will delay the benefits while your competitors gain market share. 

Taking the Next Steps     

When it comes time to weather the storm of market uncertainty, we believe in the importance of optimizing your cloud initiatives, activating your data strategy to enable the business, and finding quick wins through user experience initiatives.  

Please reach out if you’re struggling to identify where to focus your investment budget and employee energy. We can help you build a more resilient, efficient, and innovative business.